07 October, 2017

Secret struggle of women

One of the secret struggles of most women is comparison. It's a struggle for missionaries too. I wrote a bit about it here (though the main issue talked about was struggle with David being absent when the boys were younger) and here, when I wrote about discovering my "sweet spot" and how that came out of a period of negative comparison with other missionaries.

I struggle with it often, especially in the area of Japanese language ability, but other areas too. I think I've probably improved a bit over the years as I've discovered how God's gifted me and he's given me roles to play in Japan that have been satisfying, but it's still there. Indeed, the mini retreat I did a couple of weeks was partly dealing with the toxicity of comparison that I'd allowed into my thoughts recently.

When you first become a missionary you have your own ideas of what a missionary is like and you also look around at other missionaries to learn what they are like and, presumably, what you should aim to become. It's both a helpful and a toxic activity. Yes, it's good to be inspired by those around us and learn from them. But too often we get skewed one way or the other: either to pride (I'm doing much better than her) or to being down on ourselves I'm so bad compared to her or I wish I was as good at her at...

I edited an excellent short article about this for the Japan Harvest magazine earlier this year. You can find it here.
Comparison tempered by humility gives us a proper view of ourselves in relationship to others, which can keep us from falling into sin. (From the JH article just mentioned.)
Recently I read another article by a missionary about a time she particularly struggled with this, it turns out to be a fairly old article, but still oh so relevant: Frumpy, grumpy, and useless.

I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, remembering that he made me and nothing he makes is bad. Indeed he made me for a reason and with a purpose in mind. One that is different to every other person I meet.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith". (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
But now I need to go and pack my bag for camping tomorrow. It will be so good to get away from this computer and all the tasks that it holds!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Great post, Wendy. Thanks.